Arguably one of the greatest films on UFOs, it seems astounding that it was released in 1977, having begun in 1973, and that over thirty years have passed and few movies since on the topic compare. Spielberg risked his career touching the subject of UFOs. For our interests it also includes a famous Police UFO car chase scene. Spielberg did his homework and this scene was based on a true story.
Interviews with Spielberg indicate that CE3 was based on a bunch of UFO stories that he’d heard. While this may have formed the basis for his ideas, Spielberg’s research was impeccable, having consulted some of the greatest minds in the field, such as Air Force UFO expert astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek who acted as technical advisor. The movie features a character based on UFO researcher Jacques Vallee, played by famous French director François Truffaut, and a character based on Hynek who was played by Hynek himself. But again, what is of interest to us, is that police chase scene.
CE3’s police UFO chase scene was based on the Portage County UFO incident of April 17, 1966, and bares remarkable parallels. On that night an amazing UFO sighting, high-speed police chase, and possible air force jet interception took place in Portage County, which ended up across the Pennsylvania border (The Ohio border in CE3). The case involved at least eight police officers and several civilians, incredible air force stonewalling, investigative incompetence, and several ruined police officer careers. The case gained national attention immediately. The incident ruined the career and marriage of Officer Dale Spaur, who was apparently traumatised by the incident and the subject of relentless ridicule. Officer Huston also resigned from the force within a few months and became a bus driver in Seattle. He had been a seven-year veteran.